Howard Cosell Audio: Did not want to announce Lennon's death (VERY RARE)





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Published on Oct 8, 2010

This is a very rare piece of audio. It is Howard Cosell talking to Frank Gifford about him announcing John Lennon's death during the Patriots vs Dolphins football game. Howard did not want to announce it, but Frank said it would "shake up the world." The dialogue is as follows:

Frank: ...He was shot outside his apartment, his Dakota apartment.

Howard: Fellas, I just don't know, I'd like your opinion. I - I can't see in this game's situation allowing for that news flash, can you?

Frank: Absolutely, I can see it.

Howard: Y-You can?

Frank: You Betcha, ...[unintelligible]...you know you gotta do it.

Howard: Alright...

Frank: [unintelligible]... it's a tragic moment and, uh...

Howard: Alright...

Frank: This is gonna shake up the whole world.

Howard: Alright, I will get it in. Let Giff call this play and then I'll get it in.

Frank: [unintelligible]...bang, bang, but I mean, you gotta, you gotta do it.

Howard: Alright...

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Comments • 33

Howard was friends with John and most likely thought it should be handled with more tact than to announce that significant  news at the end of a football game. It was big news and people wanted more details of what happened including me that night. Frank was thinking of getting the news out live and scoop it from under the other networks. John will always be part of MNF forever. RIP 
John Mangee
As a lifelong Beatles fan, I'm very upset that John Lennon's no longer with us. But I do admire Howard Cosell had the strength to announce his death, because it was a reminder to all of us that tragic news is always more important than a football game.
'this is gonna shake up the whole world' and MAN! was he right about that or what?
Randy Bailin
I can understand Cosell's concern w/ the context (a football game) of announcing Lennon's death. They talked it out very briefly. Gifford was on point. Cosell agreed and the famous announcement was made. I can remember exactly where I was (in a college dorm) when the announcement was made on MNF and the game instantly became completely meaningless and everyone went for the radio or turned on a news channel.
Phil Anderson
Amazing to hear this. Howard was the greatest commentator in sports broadcasting history. 
@NirvanaBrian1 I think the title of this audio clip, which claims that Howard Cosell didn't want to report the newsflash of Lennon's murder, isn't quite accurate. Cosell was more uncertain about whether to report it or not. Frank Gifford has said that ABC's Monday Night Football was prone to getting calls with false reports anyway.
You also have to hear the rest of this... Howard didnt discount Lennon's death at all. If you listen to the announcement you will hear him say just that. He begins by saying that. "This is just a football game" who ever wins is unimportant as this, basically. Then proceeds to make the announcement then goes on to say how difficult it is now to go back to calling the game after that news, but they must because the game continues. There is silence from the booth for a few moments as well. 
Ben Theredonethat
Howard says, "Let Giff call this play and then I'll get it in."
Too bad it wasn't during Monday Night Baseball. "Guidry comes to his belt. And a throw to first to check McCrae. This just in... He looks in for a sign. A breaking story on the news service... Low and outside Word has just come over the wire... Guidry looks over at McCrae. He's obviously a little preturbed by him. He needs to focus on how to pitch to Brett instead of worrying on the runnner. John Lennon has been SHOT to DEEP RIGHT AND IT IS GONE!!!! HOME RUN!!!!"
Thanks for the help.
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